By Tim Poole
After SportNation.bet became the first brand on the SBTech platform to offer live streaming of international horseracing and domestic greyhound racing through a partnership with SIS, Gambling Insider caught up with the operator.
Below, we speak to Phil Bell, Commercial Director of parent company Argyll Entertainment.
Tell us more about the deal and why it’s such a big one for you?
From our side, this gives our customer base the opportunity to bet on international racing, which we had never had on site. It’s also a big thing for the live streaming, to be the first SBTech operator to offer that is a bit of a kudos for us. We’re getting ahead of some potentially bigger and more well-known brands.
Our customers have the opportunity to essentially watch UK and international horseracing and greyhounds for free. There’s no reason to place a bet; you can log in, watch the events all day and not have to place a single bet. Because it’s greyhounds and international horseracing, it’s what you call watch and bet. It’s a continuous live stream that goes from event to event and you won’t have to have placed a single wager. Obviously we want customers to bet; but that’s one of the great things about it.
How have you found SIS to deal and work with?
This is our first dealings with them; they’ve been great. They’ve really helped us with the integration, because it’s a lot of work to get this up and running. We’ve had to go above and beyond to be the first SBTech operator. The majority of the work has been done by us and SIS.
How long have you been partnered with SBTech?
We’ve been with them for two years, switching from Amelco. With every provider, there’s ups and downs. But we take what we’re given from SBTech and we’ve built a lot around it. Our USP is our rewards programme; the only programme we’re aware of that offers reward points on casino and sports play. You essentially earn points for every bet you place, win or lose, which can be redeemed for free bets and free spins; it’s working extremely well.
What was the thinking behind the move from Amelco to SBTech?
This happened just before I joined but it ultimately came down to the number of markets, in-play markets and the product itself.
How much does that programme tie in with this deal?
Every bet you place with anything that’s live streamed, you’ll receive reward points. It’s a new product for us to add to the site and another product they can ultimately gain rewards from.
How important are horseracing and greyhounds to SportNation?
The UK and Irish market is incredibly tough at the moment. There’s been a lot of brands exiting but we see that as an opportunity. They are the only markets we operate in the UK and Ireland. We see it as a massive opportunity and we’ve added additional products for horseracing and greyhounds here. We’re showing we’re here to stay and we want to make sure our customers have as much opportunity to bet as they would with any other tier-one bookmaker.
It’s a question we always ask; how healthy are the future of the sports looking at the moment?
We try and look at things as a glass half full. Obviously, there is that talk of a decline and whether younger audiences are keen on horseracing. But, for us, inevitably there will be up and downs; horseracing just needs a bit of innovation. All it takes is someone like Barry Hearn to take hold of it – look what he’s done with darts and snooker.
He would certainly shake it up and make it fun. Sometimes people lose track of that: gambling is supposed to fun and be enjoyed responsibly. Our whole business mantra is about making gambling fun and enjoyable. It should be part of the whole sporting event and spectacle.